Little Acts of Kindness

Charlotte Barthazar


Charlotte Barthazar was born in 1993 and became a refugee before her first birthday. She lost her father in 1994 during the Tutsi genocide in Rwanda, and the way she sees it, her mother is a superhero, having lost her parents, siblings and husband during that traumatic period. Despite this, her mother quickly gathered all six children, including baby Charlotte, and managed to escape with them to Tanzania. They lived there for five years and later moved to Malawi where she hoped to find better education for her children. Once relocated to Malawi, Charlotte attended a community primary school inside the Dzaleka Refugee Camp where her family lived. She also attended Lilongwe Girls Secondary School where she passed her National Examination in grade 12 with flying colours. Due to her hard work and good grades, she was awarded a sponsored scholarship to attend the University of  Ottawa in Canada where she studied Social Sciences in the Refugee Student Program, funded by World University Service Of Canada (WUSC).

Charlotte is deeply grateful for all the kindness that she was shown that made it possible for her to pursue her education regardless of her economic background. She has had to confront many difficult circumstances, and it was the support from those around her that helped her to achieve her goals and to arrive at where she is today – a college graduate and a full-time social worker who just became a Canadian citizen.

But for Charlotte, the work is not done – she continues to pursue her ongoing dream of helping others in need, and in addition to her job, is working on a book that will tell her personal story. Because of her background, Charlotte is committed to giving back to the community, both in her new home and where she came from, in support of other vulnerable individuals. It is the reason that she decided to create the “Little Acts of Kindness” project with a group of WUSC “alumni” from Dzaleka and elsewhere plus new friends who want to help out.

She cannot forget that it was via tiny donations of  only $1.50  per person, fundraised by students at the University of Ottawa, that her first two years of university tuition and living expenses were paid.

Charlotte is currently a dedicated and highly-valued worker at the second largest homeless shelter in North America, in Calgary, Alberta. She proudly serves in this shelter, knowing that whatever she does for its residents, no matter how small it seems, makes a difference in their lives. Charlotte is working towards a second degree in Social Work and Psychology and hopes that this knowledge, her life experience as a refugee, and her personal passion for her work will better equip her to serve vulnerable populations that include refugees, orphans, people with disabilities and the elderly.

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If you have questions or want to get involved, including making private, direct donations that will have an immediate impact, please contact us.